CFB 24/7  

 

Sudden impact: Projecting top 100 NFL rookies of 2015

Print

Members of the 2015 NFL Draft class are settling in with their new franchises and are looking to make an impression on the league early in their first season. Here's a ranking of the top 100 rookies based on who will make the biggest impact in Year 1.

1. QB Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bottom line -- nobody in this draft class will have a greater impact on their new team than the guy under center for Lovie Smith.

2. S Landon Collins, New York Giants: Collins is already assuming a leadership role for the Giants and fills a huge need for a team that will have to contain some high-powered offenses.

3. WR Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders: The Alabama star will provide an instant boost to an offense that was dreadful last season and enters 2015 looking to pass the ball with second-year pro Derek Carr.

4. WR/RS Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks: Meet Russell Wilson's new best friend, a dynamo out of the slot who will create plenty of mismatches and boost the return game instantly.

5. RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams: Gurley will be the workhorse back for a run-heavy Rams offense, barring any setbacks as he returns from an ACL tear.

6. QB Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans: The Week 1 starter for the Titans will have plenty of pressure to perform as the new face of the franchise in the most interesting offensive experiment in the NFL.

7. WR Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles: Jeremy Maclin is gone and his immediate replacement could put up similar numbers in Chip Kelly's offense.

8. WR Kevin White, Chicago Bears: Defenses might rotate toward Alshon Jeffrey this year, so White will have opportunities to make big plays if Jay Cutler gets him the ball.

9. RB Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons: The path is there for Coleman to be the primary tailback, and he will be a big part of the team's plans early in his career.

10. RB Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers: The team will still throw the ball around, but Gordon should be a focal point for the offense from Day 1.

11. DE Vic Beasley, Atlanta Falcons: There were plenty of high-quality edge rushers in this year's draft, but things set up best for Beasley to have the biggest immediate impact.

12. DE Randy Gregory, Dallas Cowboys: The Dallas pass rush was non-existent at times last season. Gregory will have plenty of opportunities to change that playing opposite Demarcus Lawrence and, eventually, Greg Hardy.

13. TE Maxx Williams, Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco's new best friend will be Williams, who might not finish with a ton of yards but should rack up catches and touchdowns as a starter.

14. DT Eddie Goldman, Chicago Bears: The new regime in the Windy City needs a big man in the middle of the new 3-4 defense, and Goldman will fill that role while bringing some athleticism to the trenches, too.

15. CB Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs: Peters is a physical corner who will immediately slow down offenses.

16. CB Trae Waynes, Minnesota Vikings: There are plenty of good receivers in NFC North, so Waynes will be tested early and often.

17. WR DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins: Parker should be the No. 1 WR for Ryan Tannehill right away.

18. CB Kevin Johnson, Houston Texans: The secondary has long been an issue for the Texans, and Johnson can shore up that area immediately.

19. OLB Shane Ray, Denver Broncos: His playing time might be more limited than other first-round picks, but the presence of DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller should allow Ray to see -- and win -- some one-on-one matchups.

20. DT Danny Shelton, Cleveland Browns: There are few better matches between player and team than Shelton manning the middle for the Browns.

21. OL La'el Collins, Dallas Cowboys: The undrafted first-round talent will likely start at guard to boost the already top-notch offensive line in Dallas.

22. RB David Cobb, Tennessee Titans: Mariota isn't the only player in Nashville who will be asked to assume a big role early, as Cobb will split carries with Bishop Sankey.

23. OL D.J. Humphries, Arizona Cardinals: Humphries should help take care of Carson Palmer while also boosting the run game.

24. OLB Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers: Given recent departures, Dupree will have no choice but to play a big role for the Steelers' defense.

25. ILB Eric Kendricks, Minnesota Vikings: A tackling machine in college, Kendricks should continue to be one in the Twin Cities.

26. WR Jaelen Strong, Houston Texans: Opposite DeAndre Hopkins, Strong will have plenty of opportunities to make plays. The only limitation for him might be the questionable QB situation in Houston.

27. ILB Denzel Perryman, San Diego Chargers: The team wanted a physical thumper in the middle of the defense and got a good one in Perryman.

28. WR Justin Hardy, Atlanta Falcons: Hardy will fill the Harry Douglas role in Atlanta and brings a set of sure hands and some savvy route running to it as Matt Ryan's new target.

29. WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans: Mariota has some weapons at wideout but none can match DGB's potential as a red-zone threat. Could a double-digit TD total be in his future?

30. RB Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens: His ability to do it all will earn him reps early and he could quickly become Justin Forsett's running mate.

31. DL Leonard Williams, New York Jets: The most talented player in the draft will showcase his skills, but the team's stacked depth chart will limit his snaps a bit.

32. S Damarious Randall, Green Bay Packers: Randall will find the field in a variety of different spots for a team with its eye on a return to the Super Bowl.

33. WR Devin Smith, New York Jets: Defenses will have to respect Smith's speed and he's a perfect complement to the receivers already on the roster.

34. WR Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Ravens: It might take a while before the raw prospect gets fully up to speed, but he can create mismatches right away.

35. DT Malcom Brown, New England Patriots: Brown will add versatility and playmaking ability to the Patriots' defensive line from Day 1.

College Football 24/7 Hot Topics:

36. WR Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis Colts: The Colts have a lot of talent at wideout, but there's little doubt Andrew Luck will quickly get on the same page with Dorsett, just as Luck once did with T.Y. Hilton.

37. DL Mario Edwards Jr., Oakland Raiders: Edwards figures to start right away for Jack Del Rio and will showcase his talent in a well-defined role.

38. RB Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions: RB Joique Bell will still play a big role, but Abdullah will help in a number of areas, including the passing game.

39. TE Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers: James is going to make his biggest impact as a post-up option in the end zone, and he should see a fair share of opportunities playing behind Heath Miller.

40. OL Ereck Flowers, New York Giants: Flowers should immediately boost the pass protection and run game for an offensive line that has been in flux recently.

41. WR Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins: The Redskins are expecting Crowder to be a factor on offense and special teams right away.

42. RB T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars: Has the tools to become the No. 1 back and will help young quarterback Blake Bortles with his ability as a pass protector and receiver.

43. OL Andrus Peat, New Orleans Saints: Don't be surprised if Peat is inserted into the lineup early and the team starts running behind him nearly every play.

44. DL Henry Anderson, Indianapolis Colts: He can spell Arthur Jones and be an asset in sub-packages on defense.

45. WR Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers: The coaching staff has a good game plan for bringing Funchess along after their success with Kelvin Benjamin last year.

46. TE Clive Walford, Oakland Raiders: He'll be a mainstay in two-tight-end sets and it wouldn't be that surprising if he becomes the starter by the end of the season.

47. CB Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys: He sometimes gets lost in the shuffle when talking about the Cowboys' draft picks, but Dallas is counting on the first-round pick to shore up the secondary, and he should be a mainstay on special teams.

48. OL Daryl Williams, Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton's protection has been iffy for a while and Williams will hope to shore up that area of the offense.

49. OL Brandon Scherff, Washington Redskins: Scherff will hold down the right tackle spot from Day 1 and will look to help set a physical edge for a team reshaping its offensive identity.

50. ILB Stephone Anthony, New Orleans Saints: Anthony should find a home in the middle of the defense sooner rather than later.

51. OT Donovan Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs' line was a mess last year and Smith could be part of the answer in protecting Winston.

52. ILB Benardrick McKinney, Houston Texans: He is a little limited in coverage, but the Texans have somebody who can at minimum shore up the middle of the defense against the run.

53. CB D'Joun Smith, Indianapolis Colts: Expect him to be a quick study as the nickel corner for a team looking for a few missing pieces on the back end.

54. DT Carl Davis, Baltimore Ravens: No Ngata, no problem. Davis can be a nice complement to Timmy Jernigan.

55. DT Jordan Phillips, Miami Dolphins: Has a chance to be a sneaky-good addition next to Ndamukong Suh who can get upfield on passing downs.

2015 NFL DRAFT

Draft coverage:
Video:

56. OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, New York Jets: Todd Bowles will turn Mauldin into a productive edge rusher who can get to the QB in the right situation.

57. RB Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins: There's no reason he won't be tag-teaming with Lamar Miller in the backfield and really solidifying a role on third down with his pass-catching skills.

58. OLB Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers: One of the more puzzling picks in the draft will help the Panthers contain folks from sideline-to-sideline, but acclimating to a single role could take some time.

59. TE Nick O'Leary, Buffalo Bills: Charles Clay will get all the attention, but the hard-nosed O'Leary will find ways -- small and large -- of being a contributor.

60. DT Michael Bennett, Jacksonville Jaguars: One of the best value picks in the draft likely already has a role set for Gus Bradley's defense.

61. WR J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals: A threat to take it to the house in the return game, don't be surprised if Nelson makes his presence known in a crowded receiver corps, too.

62. RB Matt Jones, Washington Redskins: Alfred Morris is the top guy and Silas Redd has shown flashes, but Jones could be a nice weapon off the bench to pick up tough third downs and vulture some touchdowns.

63. WR Chris Conley, Kansas City Chiefs: The team has nowhere to go but up when it comes to receivers, and Conley will be able to find the end zone with his skills opposite Jeremy Maclin.

64. RB Josh Robinson, Indianapolis Colts: A bowling ball has been the best description of Robinson, and he could be the player the team turns to in order to move the sticks.

65. RB David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals: Don't be surprised if he quickly works his way up the depth chart. Bruce Arians will have some create uses for his abilities.

66. WR Kenny Bell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There's no reason why the savvy and smart Bell can't be the top receiving option for Winston out of the slot as a rookie.

67. DT Grady Jarrett, Atlanta Falcons: Not an every-down player, but he'll be able to provide a nice boost in the trenches as a tough guy to block.

68. RB Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears: Matt Forte isn't going anywhere, but he'll have some pressure taken off him with the presence of Langford, who fits what John Fox wants to do in the run game.

69. DE Frank Clark, Seattle Seahawks: Clark is a controversial selection to say the least, but it's likely Pete Carroll has a role carved out for him on an already good defense.

70. G Laken Tomlinson, Detroit Lions: The super smart guard might not start right away, but he'll eventually contribute to the team's interior line and really move some bodies in the run game.

71. OLB Nate Orchard, Cleveland Browns: He'll have one job -- rush the passer -- and will be able to do it in a good situation in Cleveland.

72. DT Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers: He'll be part of the rotation early for a rebuilding team before eventually assuming the starting role and holding down one edge.

73. CB P.J. Williams, New Orleans Saints: The team needed a good nickel corner and Williams can assume that role early while being a versatile contributor on special teams.

74. CB Josh Shaw, Cincinnati Bengals: His ability to play multiple spots will help him see action, and he can have an impact in the secondary quickly as a player eager to get on the field.

75. FS Adrian Amos, Chicago Bears: He can assume a centerfield role and find success at it.

76. TE Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati Bengals: He can split time serving as the second tight end and an H-back. The numbers might not be pretty, but he'll see plenty of snaps.

77. TE Rory Anderson, San Francisco 49ers: Nobody is replacing Vernon Davis, but Anderson can be a nice complement in some two-tight end sets as a mismatch against just about everybody.

78. WR Kaelin Clay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Instant boost to the team's return game while rotating in as a slot receiver who can help stretch the field.

79. DE Marcus Hardison, Cincinnati Bengals: Won't be an every-down stater, but he can get into the backfield on passing downs.

80. DE Preston Smith, Washington Redskins: He'll contribute early on and will be a tough task for some tackles to block.

81. WR Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater needs targets, and he'll like Diggs' quickness. Also will help on special teams.

82. DT Darius Philon, San Diego Chargers: He can jump into the backfield and rack up a few sacks as part of the rotation in San Diego.

83. CB Jalen Collins, Atlanta Falcons: Collins had moments where he didn't contribute during his final season at LSU, but he can reverse that to start his career in Atlanta.

84. RB Marcus Murphy, New Orleans Saints: Sean Payton surely has a role in mind for the jitterbug who will serve as a change of pace to Mark Ingram.

85. SS Clayton Geathers, Indianapolis Colts: Geathers was a nice value pick for a team that needs safety help.

86. G Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The front office is excited about Marpet's ability. He could protect Winston sooner rather than later for a team that has been searching for help on the interior line.

87. OLB Hau'oli Kikaha, New Orleans Saints: Rob Ryan needs a situational pass rusher and gets the most productive one from the college ranks college in Kikaha.

88. RB Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers: Artis-Payne will join fellow ex-Auburn star Cam Newton in the backfield and should carve out a role running between the tackles.

89. DE Anthony Chickillo, Pittsburgh Steelers: He won't be on the field for every snap, but he can come in and solidify a spot by holding down an edge for the team's new-look defense.

90. TE Gerald Christian, Arizona Cardinals: Mr. Irrelevant? Hardly, as Christian will be a quality player for the Cardinals.

91. WR Mario Alford, Cincinnati Bengals: Provides some much needed speed out of the slot while being an early threat to take one back in the return game.

92. CB Senquez Golson, Pittsburgh Steelers: He'll be asked to help the re-tooling of the Steelers' secondary from the start, but he might get picked on by opposing quarterbacks.

93. CB Eric Rowe, Philadelphia Eagles: He'll be part of the rotation in the secondary quickly and has the skill set to help double some of the division's toughest receivers.

94. CB Ronald Darby, Buffalo Bills: Lands on a stacked defense but will provide value in the slot and should be a special-teams maven.

95. DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, New York Giants: Has time to develop his pass-rush skills but will contribute in a number of situations.

96. OLB Eli Harold, San Francisco 49ers: Eric Mangini will turn him lose to get after the passer when needed despite likely seeing a limited number of snaps early on.

97. DE Trey Flowers, New England Patriots: Don't be surprised when he finds a role and excels in it for Bill Belichick.

98. OLB Kwon Alexander, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Athletic, rangy linebacker should be a core special-teams player while being molded by Lovie Smith into a quality player.

99. CB Steven Nelson, Kansas City Chiefs: This team needs help in the secondary and Nelson will fight his way onto field to contribute.

100. FB Aaron Ripkowski, Green Bay Packers: The presence of John Kuhn hampers his playing time, but Ripkowski's versatility will allow him to become a target for Aaron Rodgers.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop